After graduating from Cambridge in 1964, Michael Peppiatt joined the Observer as art critic, then went to Paris to take up an editorial job at Réalités magazine. In 1969 he was appointed arts editor at Le Monde. In the mid-1970s he began reporting on cultural events across Europe for The New York Times and The Financial Times, becoming Paris correspondent for several art magazines. In 1985, Peppiatt became owner and editor of Art International magazine, which he relaunched from Paris, devoting special issues to the artists he most admired.
In 1994, Peppiatt returned with his wife, the art historian Jill Lloyd, and their two children to London, where he wrote the biography of Francis Bacon (1909-1992), whose close friend and commentator he had been for thirty years. Chosen as a ‘Book of the Year’ by The New York Times and translated into several languages, Francis Bacon: Anatomy of an Enigma (revised ed. 2008) is considered the definitive account of Bacon’s life and work. Peppiatt’s other books include Alberto Giacometti in Postwar Paris (2001), Francis Bacon: Studies for a Portrait (2008), In Giacometti’s Studio (2010) and Interviews with Artists (2012).
Peppiatt has curated numerous exhibitions, notably a Caravaggio/Bacon for the Galleria Borghese in Rome and retrospectives of Bacon, Giacometti, Christian Schad, Zoran Music and Tàpies. He is now working on a Miró retrospective that will be shown in two German museums in 2015.
In 2005 Peppiatt was awarded a Ph.D by the University of Cambridge for his publications on 20th-century art. He is a member of the Society of Authors and the Royal Society of Literature. He currently lives between Paris and London.